These days, when I roll out butcher’s paper across our driveway and stick it down with masking tape, my kids roll their eyes. If I suggest getting out the chalk to draw on the road they return me with a chalky stare. Apparently my suggestions for expressing creativity have become less than creative. If my kids utter the "B" word, I direct them to the bookshelf, their bikes or beading kit (ok, yeah, or the TV if it’s a bad day, which also begins with b), but in my head the word “BORED”, sits there mocking me.
It’s time to add some spice into our Arty Afternoons – an initiative brought to us by so many brow-beating online parenting articles that make me feel like a bad mother if I’m not concocting opportunities for my kids to express themselves in ways that don’t include shouting. After I rehash the same conversation with my kids about how lucky they are to have a set of paints / some kids don’t even have paper to draw on / use your initiative and make your own fun etc, I realise I might need to do what you do in some marriages and bring in some props to regain their interest. After some research here are some cool little things we’re checking out to inspire us to get back into AA:
Disney 3D Colouring Book
Technically, this amazing new technology is not out there for the masses but hopefully it will be soon. The clever bods at Disney have developed live texturing technology that enables kids to colour-in a character on paper while it renders in 3D simultaneously on a tablet device. The picture can also be manipulated to move. This is a step on from the Crayola Colour Alive series that only allowed you to render once the picture was completed. This new Disney idea allows for real-time motion.
Making the world huggable one stuffed toy at a time, this Florida-based but worldwide-distributing company, receives pictures of characters that children have drawn and brings them to life. Whether it’s a monster, imaginary friend, animal or some other freaky creation, the masters of material and sewing behind Budsies will turn the drawing into a touchable companion to keep.
There’s no way around the infiltration of digital devices into children’s childhoods. So if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. While this powerful design app might not see my kids accessing all the tools until they’re a little older, it provides a fantastic canvas for them to start combining knowledge of art and tech. Beyond the brushes lies the most interesting part – the community function allows kids to share their art, build a portfolio and following, and collaborate with other people around the world on art projects.
An Art Concierge and Book Printing service! This unique and user-friendly service elevates children’s art onto a semi-pro platform. The process involves simply sending all your kids artwork in a prepaid UPS box. Artkive will take receipt of the pictures, professionally photograph them, digitise the images so you can access them on the Artkive app and then print them out as a high-quality, glossy hardcover book complete with titles and age of the artist. Although they currently ship within the US and Canada you can email them directly and enquire about international shipping on a case by case basis.
Most of us associate this service with printing a photo of our mug on a mug. But Snapfish is great for immortalising kid’s art by applying them to puzzles, coasters and cards. The calendars are a good choice if you want to display a lot of art at once as they’ll allow up to 3 images on each page of the month. The kids can customise with captions and titles too.
With some luck, I’ll spark some interest with one of these ideas. But combining technology with visual art is just one way to extend their interest. Next we might check out how to make stencil art, Banksy-style, using the Red Ted art tutorials. Watch out neighbourhood walls!
Written by Skye Wellington